Fairy Stream is probably the most beautiful of the parks in the Ho Chi Minh City area, with some fabulously colourful statues and rides. We'd been expecting two coasters in the park, and thus it was a treat to discover the existence of a third in the guise of Mini Roller Coaster (#1860). Though a small ride, this one had a dramatic direction change as the train disengaged the lift hill which surprised me every time.
The Secret of Sorcerer Forest powered coaster is enclosed within a building that looks like a dark ride both from the outside and from the inside. It is only after you go around a few corners that you discover the train for a basic oval shaped Dragon ride, albeit one that has some fabulously detailed theming all around it.
The major coaster in the park is the High Speed Roller Coaster (#1861), a large ride that works its way around the perimeter of the amusement area within the park. It begins with what is probably the world's slowest tyre drive lift hill, taking almost two minutes to lift the train to the apex; this is mostly because the tyres are in very poor condition resulting in a lot of slippage. When the train finally crests the rest of the layout is quite good, with a highlight being a tunnel through an artificial mountain (pictured above).
In addition to the coasters, we also tried two dark walkthroughs; the Secret of Ancient Treasure and the Mystery of Co Loa Citadel. The latter had fake lifts at the start and end of the ride, indicating a descent deep into the bowels of the earth. As with the dark rides at Đại Nam Văn Hiến the overall standard of these attractions was excellent, and among the best I've seen anywhere in my travels.
Đầm Sen Park
30th September 2012
Those planning a trip to Ho Chi Minh City should be aware that travel times are considerably longer than the headline distances would suggest. We found that the twenty kilometre drive from Suôí Tiên Park to Đầm Sen Park took a little over an hour. Furthermore, those of a nervous disposition would be well advised to keep their eyes shut throughout the journey, as the only obvious rule of the road in Vietnam is that right of way belongs to whoever gets there first.
Though somewhat less elaborate than the other two parks in the area, Đầm Sen Park is quite large, and deserving of at least half a day on its own. Most of the park rides can be found around the perimeter of a large lake, but there is also a second ride area off to one side that is home to the three inversion Roller Coaster (#1862). As luck would have it, we were able to walk directly onto this ride bypassing a large group, as the operators were waiting to fill two empty seats. Though not a genuine Arrow product, this coaster used the same layout albeit in a somewhat less comfortable fashion; once was definitely enough!
Regular readers (and well-travelled enthusiasts) will know that Golden Horse Spinning Coasters rarely manage more than one or two revolutions per circuit. Spinning Coaster (#1863) was an exception to the rule, spinning relatively freely, and while it wasn't quite as enthusiastic as the Reverchon/Zamperla models it was nevertheless far better than all the other models I've ridden. One wonders whether the local engineers have done something to the ride mechanism to improve it?
It was at this point that the heavens opened in spectacular fashion, unleashing a torrent of water that closed every exposed ride in the park. We sheltered for a while in the hope that the weather would clear, but after about twenty minutes we realised that there was no end in sight. One of the ride operators told us that the powered coaster would not operate until an hour after the rain stopped. Rather than hang around, we elected to abandon the park in favour of a second attempt at the coasters in Đại Nam Văn Hiến.
Đại Nam Văn Hiến
30th September 2012
The rain had stopped by the time we arrived at Đại Nam some ninety minutes later, but there was no sign of activity around either of the two coasters we had yet to ride. However, the pay booths were open and a large group showed up right after we'd bought our tickets for the Roller Coaster (#1864). Built by Hebei Zhongye Metallurgical Equipment Manufacturing, this coaster features two vertical loops and two corkscrews and at first glance looks like it could be a decent ride. Unfortunately, appearances can be deceptive.
Incredibly, Roller Coaster managed to hurt me in the tiny section of track between the ride station and the base of the lift hill, at which point the train was doing a speed of no more than five miles per hour. Once the train picked up speed, things went from bad to worse, with the train clattering about so badly that it felt like the ride was tearing itself apart. It's worth noting that a similar ride from the same manufacturer did just that in April of this year. It's a shame that the implementation of this ride is so poor, because the two vertical loops featured strong positive g-forces that paid homage to some of the classic designs from Anton Schwarzkopf.
There was a huge audience to watch two crazy adults riding the Fruit Worm Coaster (#1865). Much to my surprise this tiny coaster actually delivered some airtime in the back seat, making it considerably more enjoyable than the larger monstrosity we'd ridden a few minutes before.
Đầm Sen Park
30th September 2012
We were on the way out of Đại Nam Văn Hiến when we realised that we might just have enough time to get back to Đầm Sen Park before it closed for the evening, traffic permitting. It took a bit of time to explain to our driver what we wanted, but in due course we got the message across.
It took us fifteen minutes to ride the Flying Dragon and the Children's Spiral Coaster (#1866), a Big Apple design replacing the usual fruit with a large watermelon. It was interesting to note that this ride was substantially overgrown in places, with a large bush hanging over the base of the lift hill that even the children on board had to duck for. I doubt that'd pass health and safety regulations anywhere else in the world!
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